About six years ago, I was a junior at Hatboro-Horsham High School sitting in the cafeteria with my friends listening to a talented and passionate singer/songwriter. He played his guitar, had sing-a-longs and gave a little taste of what he was cooking up musically, which filled us more than the hot lunch ever could. While the clanking of cafeteria plates provided off-beat percussion and the students’ chatter echoed off of the walls giving the venue next to no acoustics, Kenny played on, undistracted. Little did we know that our classmate and lunchtime entertainment would achieve so much in such a short time by becoming part of a band called The Starting Line.Just listening to Ken Vasoli’s voice, you know he has what it takes. His devotion to making music and his love for performing shines brighter than his bleached-blonde hair. The same fun-loving guy that kept me laughing in theatre class with quick wits and made me cry backstage at our school’s talent show when he performed “Out of Reach” by The Get Up Kids has blossomed into a musician I can’t get enough of. His music gets your blood pumping, his voice gives you goose-bumps and his lyrics will move you.
The Starting Line was first brought together with the ambition to create. Not to become famous or to make money, but to conceive a sound they all loved: music. It all began when guitarist Matt Watts found Vasoli’s AOL profile. An e-mail with the header “Jamming and Sh**” was in Vasoli’s inbox. Though he was skeptical, he replied to Watts’ request for a lead singer and bassist. Soon after the e-mails were exchanged, the two were rehearsing with drummer Tom Gryskiewicz and guitarist Mike Golla, forming a sound all of their own and building a bond that every band wishes they had.
With hard work, creative minds, late nights and supportive fans, these four young men have released albums including With Hopes of Starting Over, Say It Like You Mean It featuring their hit single “Best of Me,” The Make Yourself at Home EP, a 2005 Warped Tour Bootleg Series and Based on a True Story featuring songs like “Bedroom Talk,” “Surprise, Surprise” and “Ready.”
With every new album comes a more experienced, mature, and new sound, which should make their next album even more addicting than Based on a True Story which was released in May of 2005. The almost year-old album is packed full of different issues the band had to face including love, loss, and the disputes with their record label, Geffen, which just recently ended, allowing The Starting Line to sign with Virgin Records. With a new label and the opportunities and freedoms that come with it, the guys are excited to start putting together a new album.
It’s no doubt that success has been a friend to The Starting Line putting them on international tours and featuring them in magazines as refreshing new faces in music. Luckily, for their West Chester fans, they’ll be performing on Thursday, April 20, 2006 at 8 p.m. in Hollinger Gym. Tickets are on sale now for $13 with your RAMeCARD (4 ticket limit) at the SSI Service Center.
I will never forget our senior year when Kenny and our friend Joel came to see me in my first lead in our high school’s musical. He found me after the performance gave me a huge hug and said, “Never stop singing. You are amazing.” Even if he doesn’t remember it, or if he thought that I’d take it with a grain of salt, hearing those encouraging words from someone I had musically admired was uplifting, and I hope he knows that.
I’ve always hoped that Kenny Vasoli a warm and dedicated musician would go far, and in October of 2003 I saw a familiar mop of bleached hair and hopeful eyes staring back at me from the cover of Alternative Press Magazine. He had climbed up to reach another rung on the ladder, and I couldn’t be prouder of my classmate. In June 2005, he was featured on the AP cover again, this time with his natural brown locks accompanied by fellow Warped Tour performers, and I’ll never get rid of my copy. Who knew that I’d be writing about him coming to perform at my college? I guess fate really does work both ways.